Sunday, January 20, 2013

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Evelyn's dream art museum.  One day.  Eight hours.  Square footage equal to 30 football fields.  17 different collections.  Where to start, where to start?  The Great Hall.  Before coming to New York City, Evelyn had read both a fiction and nonfiction book about the Met.  These books helped her to plan her one-day visit.
The first collection Evelyn wanted to see was Egyptian Art.  In addition to reading about this collection in her books, Evelyn recently studied Egypt in school.  She really liked these 4,000-year-old figures; they were buried in a pharaoh's tomb so he could continue his normal life in the afterlife.  She was amazed that something so old could look so good - some of the figurines still had their original linen clothes.
Another Egyptian favorite of Evelyn's was William.  The eight-inch hippo has become somewhat of a mascot of the museum.  Evelyn loved the bright blue glaze the Egyptians used on the faience piece of artwork.
Once we reached the Temple of Dendur, Evelyn was inspired to draw.  She asked for her sketchbook and pencil and promptly began drawing.  After about 20 minutes of drawing, Evelyn was ready to move on.  (By the way, we only saw about half of the Egyptian Art collection.)
Next stop - Arms and Armor.  Evelyn's favorite displays in this area were the armored horses, as well as the ornate guns and swords.  She also like reading how heavy the pieces of human armor were.
After lunch in the museum's cafeteria, we headed over to Africa, Oceania and the Americas.  It was easy to find what Evelyn was looking for...a 28-foot-long spirit ship.  She had seen this boat in her nonfiction museum book, and she had read about its length, but she couldn't believe how long it actually was in person.
While wandering around the Oceania exhibits, museum staff let us know about the Sunday Studio program that was about to start.  Evelyn jumped at the chance to do a project.  First up was sketching designs she saw on an Indonesian textile
Here's a shot of the hallway, to give you an idea of how many people were participating in this afternoon's program.
Then Evelyn used kid-friendly pastels to transfer her pictures and color in museum-provided stencils onto muslin.  A top-notch souvenir.
We moved to the Impressionists area next with our sights set on Van Gogh, Monet, Seurat and Degas.  They had a lot more Monet than we thought they would.  Evelyn fell in love this Monet - la Grenouillere.  A French woman overheard Evelyn's questions about the painting and answered all of them.  Talk about good luck!
We saw the Degas rooms (all three of them) last.  Evelyn had seen the "Little Dancer" bronze sculpture at Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum this summer, which confused her.  If that sculpture was in Omaha, why was there another one here, in New York City?  That's because 22 bronzes were made from Degas' original mold.  Evelyn stopped to sketch the Little Dancer, although that proved tricky for her.
All of Degas' bronzes (including the 22 Little Dancers) were made after he died in 1917.  After his death, over 150 wax sculptures were found in his studio, and about 70 of them were complete enough to make casts, which were then made into bronzes.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has most of the bronzes on display.  Evelyn, being the dancer she is, was smitten by Degas' sculptures of ballerinas, recognizing most of the poses and positions.
We stopped for a water and sit-down break after the Impressionists.  Then we headed over to the American Wing to see this enormous painting of George Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware River during the American Revolution.  The people and objects in this painting are life-sized, which makes the overall painting ginormous.  Evelyn's last sketch of the day was the ornate frame (not original, but a replica of the original).
At about 5:15 we headed to the gift shop to pick up a couple of souvenirs - post cards for grandparents, a Degas/ballerina picture book for Julia and colored pencils for Evelyn.

At the end of the day we were thoroughly, yet happily, exhausted.  The art we saw spanned over 4,000 years and all of the continents.  There were several collections we didn't get to see, so Evelyn has already started making a list for her next visit to the Met.


k. said...

8 hours? My museum attention span tops out at 4 hours. The Egyptian temple is so cool, and so is all the impressionist art. I'm really impressed that you guys saw so much in one day!

And I'd love to see some of Evelyn's sketches!